Chelsea could only draw 0-0 at home to relegation-threatened Brighton and Hove Albion, as Graham Potter's strugglers made their point against the backdrop of the controversial European Super League crumbling just 48 hours after it was announced.

The build-up to Tuesday's game was completely overshadowed by off-field events, with protesting Chelsea fans blocking the Blues' team bus from getting to Stamford Bridge – resulting in a 15-minute kick-off delay – before reports began to emerge of owner Roman Abramovich instigating a Super League U-turn.

With the players perhaps affected by a turbulent couple of days, the on-pitch action throughout the match certainly did not match up to the boardroom drama that has consumed the world of football since Sunday.

Goal-mouth entertainment was at a premium for much of the game as Super League's meltdown ramped up in the background, and by the end Chelsea were fortunate to even hang on to a point as Brighton finished well before having Ben White sent off in stoppage time.

Chelsea's first-half performance showed little evidence of the world-leading quality their Super League association suggested, with clear-cut chances something of a rarity.

Their only genuine opportunity came in the 20th minute as Robert Sanchez made a point-blank save from Hakim Ziyech after a Adam Webster error in a dangerous area.

The match remained at largely monotonous pace for much of the next hour until Brighton seemed to spark the game into life near the end.

First, with 78 minutes on the clock, substitute Adam Lallana shot agonisingly wide from 20 yards, and soon after Danny Welbeck struck the right-hand post with a deflected effort from a similar distance.

Brighton's chances took a major blow in stoppage time as Ben White earned his marching orders for a second booking when catching Callum Hudson-Odoi.

Although Chelsea could not steal a late win, the point takes them up to fourth in the Premier League – not that it will be anyone's focus after the fact.

Thomas Tuchel refused to condemn the formation of a European Super League and is adamant he trusts Chelsea to "make the right decisions" as he called for all parties to remain calm.

Chelsea were confirmed as one of 12 founder clubs of a new semi-closed competition on Sunday, with The Super League – as it has been dubbed – attracting widespread criticism.

UEFA, in a statement co-signed by the national associations of England, Spain, Italy and those countries' respective top leagues, vowed to ban players and teams from other competitions if they become involved in the Super League.

It remains to be seen if UEFA and the domestic leagues have the power to stop the Super League, but Tuchel cut a relaxed figure amid the hysteria as he addressed the media on Monday ahead of Tuesday's meeting with Brighton and Hove Albion.

He told reporters: "I've known since yesterday, but I am here to be in the hardest competitions, it's why I came here, to play the toughest competitions in Europe.

"As you know, I don't get into the subjects around us. I was hoping to talk about Man City and Brighton but it's not the case.

"I am part of this club and I trust this club to make the right decisions. I think it's too early to judge everything and it's not my part.

"On my badge it says that everyone has to play their role. My role is to coach, be focused, and we've another game tomorrow.

"There are a lot of comments, arguments and opinions out there and I don't want to get involved in it because I don't know the details. I've known the general details since yesterday."

Regarding the opinions of players and staff, Tuchel added: "If I had a clear opinion right now I wouldn't mention it - it's too early to judge it and there are way too many opinions out there.

"I trust this club and my job is very clear. I am maybe not the right person to ask this of. I understand why there are many emotional reactions out there, but I don't know enough about it.

"The players were not involved in the decision making, I wasn't involved. Maybe it's a good thing to step back and not give our opinions about this. It's between the clubs and it's important to fight for the goals we still have this season."

UEFA has made its position on the Super League crystal clear regarding the potential exclusions of teams.

Whether it is able to enforce such decisions is another matter, but Tuchel hopes all parties can calm down as they look to find solutions.

Asked if he was worried about potential punishment impacting Chelsea's season, Tuchel said: "There was not too much time to get worried. Clearly, I hope not.

"Everyone wishes for a calm atmosphere and situation to have full focus. Do we have it, maybe not but it's clearly our choice if we get influenced, read too much about it, get lost in sports politics.

"We are involved in this club to play our role and make our challenge happen at the highest level. This is what I am here for. Nobody expects anything else from me, except for maybe you guys in the next few days.

"Nothing will change between me and the team. Sometimes in the middle of the storm is the calmest. Let's hope it is like this and I don't want to enter in this as it may sound like an excuse."

Thomas Tuchel says he already feels like part of the Chelsea family and is open to signing a new contract if the club feel he deserves to stay on.

The 47-year-old replaced Frank Lampard in the Stamford Bridge dugout in January on an initial 18-month deal with the possibility of an extension.

He has enjoyed an impressive start to life at Chelsea, winning 13, drawing four and losing only two of his first 19 matches in charge.

That run has taken the Blues into the semi-finals of the Champions League and final of the FA Cup, as well as putting their Premier League top-four hopes back in their own hands.

Tuchel admits he was initially anxious about the length of the deal he signed but is driven to succeed in west London and earn an extended contract.

"I had these concerns and after 15 minutes I said to myself it changes nothing how many years the contract says," he said.

"I demand to deliver, to have an impact and be the best I can. If I deserve to stay, I want to stay as long as possible. 

"I feel like part of the Chelsea family. It is super professional, we have unbelievable support and I want to fight on the touchline with this team.

"So I don't care what it says on my contract. I need to deserve to stay longer. If I deserve to stay longer, then I will stay longer.

"This is what I demand from myself. I feel free at the moment, I feel good - I'm in the right place at the right moment.

"Everything will fall into place when it is there and if I want to stay longer I need to deliver week in, week out."

Former Borussia Dortmund and Paris Saint-Germain boss Tuchel made history by going unbeaten in his first 14 games, which is the most ever by a Chelsea manager.

The Blues beat Manchester City 1-0 at Wembley on Saturday to reach the FA Cup final, where Leicester City await, making Tuchel the first German boss to ever reach the showpiece.

Asked how he would have felt upon signing the contract three months ago knowing the club would be battling on three fronts at this stage, Tuchel said: "I would've said 'Okay, let's start immediately!'

"I would've said this is quite a huge target, but there was no time to think about these things. 

"The flight from Paris to London we thought about training and the first match against Wolves. Maybe this was good because you don't start thinking too far ahead, don't look at the goals in the future. 

"To reach all these things you need to be ready to constantly progress, me as a manager, we as a staff, and every player in this club needs to commit to this approach. 

"This is what we do, what I demand of myself and everybody from the staff."

Thomas Tuchel was proud to have got the better of Pep Guardiola for the first time in his career after leading Chelsea to a 1-0 victory over Manchester City on Saturday.

Hakim Ziyech's goal sent Chelsea into the FA Cup final for the fourth time in five seasons and ended Premier League leaders City's hopes of winning a quadruple this season.

Guardiola was unbeaten in his five prior meetings with Tuchel, all of which came during the Catalan's time in charge of Bayern Munich between 2013 and 2016.

Since taking over Chelsea in January, Tuchel has also come out on top against Jurgen Klopp, Jose Mourinho, Carlo Ancelotti and Diego Simeone.

He was pleased to have got the beating of a manager he considers to be the best in the world but urged his team to quickly put it behind them and focus on their push to finish in the top four of the Premier League.

"If you play against Pep, you know you play against the highest level in Europe because everywhere he was on the sideline he was the benchmark with his teams and he is again. You can see this in the Premier League," Tuchel told a post-match news conference.

"But it was our target to close the gap for the 90 minutes because it's possible in football if you arrive in good momentum you can make this happen.

"I'm happy and proud of the performances because we played with a lot of courage. We were brave with the ball and against the ball.

"We deserved the win, which is most important. We were very active and didn't get passive. We deserved the win against like I said maybe the best manager and clearly one of the best teams, so we are very happy with the performance.

"It'll be a huge boost for our confidence and for our progression and our development because we arrived with a young team. It's important to have these experiences together.

"Most important now is to enjoy it today and from tomorrow it's the past and we need to perform in a crucial week in the Premier League.

"Today the target was to close the gap to Man City for 90 minutes completely. It was a huge target and we were focused on that and delivered very well.

"Now the next big target is to forget this performance and success and enter with full awareness a crucial week in the Premier League."

Chelsea entertain Brighton and Hove Albion on Tuesday before taking on top-four rivals West Ham at London Stadium next Saturday.

Meetings with Chelsea have provided Manchester City with a measuring stick over the past 12 months.

In June 2020, at Stamford Bridge, City's 2-1 defeat handed the Premier League title to Liverpool, ending Pep Guardiola's two-season stay at the summit.

When City then returned to the same stadium in January, facing Chelsea for the first time in 2020-21, they rediscovered their mojo.

It was the fourth match in a sequence of 21 straight wins in all competitions and arguably the pick of the bunch.

Slick City, missing a host of stars due to COVID-19, swept Chelsea aside in a 3-1 win as Ilkay Gundogan, Phil Foden and Kevin De Bruyne all scored. They left London in fifth but firmly back on track.

It has since looked as though that might be a defining display in a historic quadruple achievement. City, like Chelsea, reached the Champions League semi-finals this week. They are already clear at the top of the league table and have an EFL Cup final Wembley date with Tottenham next weekend.

But in the FA Cup, the fourth competition, City were tasked with again taking on Chelsea, an entirely different prospect now Thomas Tuchel has replaced Frank Lampard and fortified the Blues.

And Saturday's semi-final saw City finally come unstuck as Chelsea claimed a superb 1-0 success.

 

Blues a different beast

The improvement in Chelsea from January's match to this game was evident even in a first half in which they managed only two legal shots.

All three of City's goals had come in the opening 45 minutes last time, tearing through Lampard's men at will. They were now limited to three first-half efforts of their own worth a combined 0.1 expected goals. Parity suited Tuchel, who could not allow De Bruyne to dictate once more.

At the other end, a portender for City's later downfall appeared in the 'offsides' column, for the Premier League leaders were warned long before Hakim Ziyech's 55th-minute breakthrough.

With just six minutes on the clock, Timo Werner advanced up the left and the flag stayed down. The forward played a low, square ball, which City could not cut out, and Ziyech scored. Then the flag went up. A let off.

When Werner exploited the same space 10 minutes after the interval, set clear by a gorgeous Mason Mount pass, goalkeeper Zack Steffen decided to act.

Seemingly unimpressed by the way with which a usually sturdy City defence had allowed Werner to centre and Ziyech to finish on the first occasion, Steffen advanced and fared no better than his team-mates. The United States international failed to narrow the angle and simply granted Ziyech an open goal when Werner made his pass again.

 

KDB blow for treble bid

Mount moved uneasily as he was replaced 15 minutes later, but the damage was done. City had already lost De Bruyne - who completed only 10 passes in the Chelsea half - to an ankle complaint at the start of the second half. That setback could have implications far beyond this encounter.

Steffen twice saved City, blocking from Ziyech and reaching a tame Werner prod, and De Bruyne's replacement Foden sought to muster up more magic.

Momentum swung but the scoreline did not. Ruben Dias headed over from close range and Raheem Sterling blasted beyond the crossbar.

Although the flag was raised again to deny Chelsea a second in stoppage time - Christian Pulisic, on for Mount, frustrated - the Blues battled, blocked and bellowed their way across the finish line.

Tuchel five times faced Guardiola in Germany and failed to end on the winning side. Boosted by spirit in defence and speed in the form of the much-maligned Werner, he finally found the formula.

The Chelsea coach will get another go at Guardiola in the league on May 8, a third meeting this season hot on the heels of the sides' respective Champions League semis. They will know by then if there is to be a further part to this epic in a European final - hopefully, for City's sake, with De Bruyne back involved in Istanbul.

Should Guardiola's men win that prize, the most precious of all, it could clinch a tremendous treble, but FA Cup glory is not on the agenda this season.

"We never speak about the four titles," the City manager said in midweek. "One game at a time."

The next game ensured nobody outside the club could speak about that clean sweep either - at least for another year.

Thomas Tuchel hopes Chelsea will benefit from a rare opportunity to bond in Seville after the squad stayed overnight following their Champions League clash with Porto.

Chelsea lost the second leg of the quarter-final tie following a stoppage-time winner for their Portuguese opponents on Tuesday, though still progressed 2-1 on aggregate.

Rather than fly home immediately after the game in the Spanish city – both fixtures were staged there due to the ongoing travel restrictions in place during the coronavirus pandemic – Tuchel and his Chelsea players had the chance to get together and relax.

Chelsea head coach Tuchel allowed his Premier League players to have a glass of wine or a beer as they discussed matters away from football before returning to England the next day, a move he hopes has allowed the group to grow even closer as they prepare for a busy run-in to the season.

Chelsea are still fighting for a top-four finish in the Premier League, but the immediate focus is on an FA Cup semi-final showdown against Manchester City, with the two heavyweight rivals clashing at Wembley on Saturday.

"We are aware that it is necessary to recover mentally," Tuchel told the media on the eve of the City game. 

"For example, we decided to stay overnight in Seville because we knew the hotel. It was very nice, in a nice setting - we had the chance to sit outside because the weather was very warm.

"It was a calming circumstance to enjoy each other's company. We had a good sleep and we had a chance to stay together after the match because we created a bubble there.

"It was a good chance because the players have not been able to go out, go to restaurants. For almost a year now, we cannot share a dressing room. So we created this just to feel some time together, have talks outside of tactics and line-ups to just bond, let the players bond, enjoy an evening after a game.

"They could have a glass of wine or sip of beer if they want. It was important to have this environment and organise it like this. It was part of the mental recovery.

"We are aware that we have many meetings after games and training sessions. We want to have sessions where there isn't too much explanation or talking, just to find exercises on the pitch that bring a lot of fun and joy and sweat out the tension.

"Things like this are very important to help the seriousness of how we prepare and play in games."

Tuchel will hope the time spent in Spain has refreshed Chelsea prior to taking on the runaway league leaders; City have won six of the past nine meetings in all competitions, including a 3-1 triumph at Stamford Bridge earlier in this campaign.

Frank Lampard was in charge for that game and while Tuchel has lost just twice since taking charge, he has yet to beat Pep Guardiola in his managerial career. All of their previous five head-to-head battles came while both were working in the Bundesliga.

Thomas Tuchel is confident Chelsea can close the gap to a Manchester City side he believes are the "benchmark" in European football alongside Bayern Munich for 90 minutes in Saturday's FA Cup semi-final.

Tuchel has never beaten a side managed by Guardiola during his career, having met the Catalan tactician five times across spells in charge of Mainz and Borussia Dortmund, earning two draws against his opponent's Bayern Munich side.

Both Chelsea and City are through to the semi-finals of the Champions League but, with the Blues 20 points behind Guardiola's men domestically, Tuchel accepts his team are a long way off the standard set by the Premier League leaders.

Asked if, having always been an underdog against him in Germany, Tuchel's Chelsea and Guardiola's City can be considered equals at Wembley, Tuchel told a media conference: "Yes and no. We have to accept there is a gap between us and Manchester City.

"If you look at the fixtures in the Premier League and if you look at the fixtures in the last few years we have to accept this. It's important that we accept it but without making us too small.

"From day one next season we will hunt them and try to close the gap between us. For me, in Europe, there are two teams who are the benchmark: Bayern Munich and Manchester City.

"But I know what you're saying of course, he made it impossible for us to beat them with Mainz, I think we had two draws with Dortmund, one ended in the cup final in a penalty loss and we had another draw at home, so we came close, it's time that we beat them, the next try is tomorrow.

"I don't believe in how big clubs are, are we equal or not? We have to admit that there is a gap but for 90 minutes we are very self-aware and very self-confident that we truly believe we can close the gap for one game, this is the target for tomorrow and I arrive with a team that I'm absolutely happy to arrive, to compete against the benchmark in England and Europe.

"We don't have the momentum of football on our side. If we want to have this we have to play on our top level, to force things and need a bit of luck.

"If we manage to beat them it will be a huge boost if not we will have to accept and take it as a challenge and opportunity to grow because we have some fights coming up. It's not only about the FA Cup, it's about the top-four race and the Champions League."

Tuchel takes joy in competing with Guardiola, identifying him as a significant inspiration in his managerial career.

"[Guardiola is a] huge influence because when he was coach of Barcelona I was watching almost every game," Tuchel explained. 

"I was very impressed by the way they made success happen with the style they were playing with their own academy guys, the offensive way, the ball possession.

"The most impressive thing about this team was their mentality, how they defended when they lost the ball. I learned a lot watching the game and understanding more of the game, how adventurous, how brave you can approach this game.

"So it was a big, big lesson. At this time I was a coach at the academy and then became a coach at Mainz. Almost every match was a lesson in these days and then later we had the opportunity to play against him.

"It was not always a pleasure but when you arrive on a certain level it's of course a pleasure to play against him and to meet him and to fight on the highest level."

When FIFA last year announced they were set to introduce limits on the number of players teams could send out on loan, unsurprisingly many people's first thoughts turned to Chelsea.

At the time, the Blues remarkably had 28 players at other clubs, though this was by no means a recent trend: in 2018-19 that figure was 41.

The 'hoarding' of talent might be a solid ploy when looking to stunt the growth of a rival team or generate long-term revenue on Football Manager, but in the real world it was a practice that had long attracted criticism.

While by no means the only club in the world to have lots of young players out on loan, Chelsea have – rightly or wrongly – arguably been the most synonymous with it.

Some feel this has directly contributed to the club's struggles in developing homegrown talent because they have so many players, whereas others believe it offers a greater number of individuals the chance to play first-team football at a higher level than the Under-23s.

Putting aside some of the moral issues, Mason Mount falls into the latter category and proves there is a route to the first team through the fog of war for Chelsea's loan army.

By his own admission Mount needed an extra kick when he was in Chelsea's Under-23s as an 18-year-old, and that led to his temporary switch to the Eredivisie with Vitesse Arnhem, where he won the club's Player of the Year award.

But it's unlikely even he realised how important his next move would be as he linked up with Chelsea great Frank Lampard.

In at the deep end

Mount made 44 appearances across all competitions for Derby County in 2018-19 as they missed out on promotion in the play-off final, but regardless of that ultimate disappointment it proved a massive year for both he and Lampard.

With Maurizio Sarri departing Stamford Bridge to join Juventus despite Europa League success, Lampard was brought back to the club as head coach. Given his status and the trust he placed in young players – and, more pertinently, young players owned by Chelsea – at Derby, Lampard was seen as the ideal candidate to guide the team through a transfer embargo by bringing through homegrown talent.

Whether or not Lampard was a success as Chelsea coach is a discussion for another time, but his faith in Mount was unquestionable, chucking him straight into the team on the first day of the 2019-20 season.

 

The Blues suffered a rather harsh 4-0 defeat at Manchester United, but Mount didn't look out of his depth in the Premier League, playing four key passes over the course of the match.

He never enjoyed a more productive Premier League game in terms of chances created in 2019-20, while he finished the season with 12 goal involvements (seven scored, five set up), a figure bettered by only Tammy Abraham (18), Willian (16) and Christian Pulisic (13) in the Chelsea squad.

Similarly, Willian (76) was the only Chelsea player to lay on more key passes over 2019-20 than Mount's 52 and he appeared in more league games than any of his team-mates (37).

But those points don't quite tell the whole story. To say he was consistent throughout the season would be a lie, as after the turn of the year there was a growing sense of frustration regarding his form. Between the start of November and the final day of the season, his three assists amounted to a couple of corner deliveries for Antonio Rudiger to head home, and a free-kick against Arsenal that Bernd Leno made a mess of. Mount's one open-play assist of 2019-20 came on the final day of the season against Wolves.

 

Some felt Mount was being over-worked by Lampard, others put his issues down to being used in a variety of roles – one week he'd occupy a central midfield position, the next he could be deployed as a winger and then he might play as a No.10.

The "teacher's pet" tag began to raise its head, with Lampard's almost incessant use of Mount leading to suggestions of preferential treatment. 

A star of his own merit

When Thomas Tuchel was hired as Lampard's replacement in January, there wouldn't have been too many particularly worried for Mount's future given he had been a fixture in the team.

But when Mount was dropped for the German's first game in charge, Tuchel's decision certainly made people sit up and take note.

While he explained it away as opting to go with experience, dropping Mount suggested for arguably the first time since his return from Derby that he had a fight on his hands.

But it would be fair to say he's risen to the challenge.

"I understood and wanted to get back into the team, so that motivation and that fire that I have inside me came out," Mount said at a news conference last month. "I really tried to push to get back into the team. It's been brilliant."

Since then, he's become more productive almost across the board in the final third under Tuchel than he had been for Lampard in 2020-21.

 

Seemingly one of the main contributing factors is his role. While Lampard used Mount in numerous positions, Tuchel has largely deployed him further up the pitch in an attempt to get him closer to the opposition's penalty area – activity maps show a significant change between the two coaches' usage of the 21-year-old.

Not only is he involved in passing moves more often as a result, he's contributing to sequences that end in a shot with greater frequency as well. His 72 (7.8 per 90 minutes) during Tuchel's 12 Premier League matches is the second highest in the division since the German's appointment, while his 96 (5.6 per 90 minutes) involvements in Lampard's 18 top-flight games this term was the eighth most.

The expected goals value from these sequences has increased too, going from 0.43 to 0.65 per 90 minutes, meaning Chelsea are creating greater quality chances with Mount further up the pitch.

Furthermore, there's been a considerable improvement in his own productivity. While his chance creation record in the past may have been skewed by set-pieces, he's moved up the rankings in terms of open-play key passes per 90 minutes. With 1.5 each game, only 12 others have done better than Mount since Tuchel's arrival – beforehand, his 1.2 per 90 minutes had him 43rd in those rankings.

 

While he may still be without a single open-play assist in 2020-21, it's clear to see that Mount's strong associative talents and ability to play tidily in busier areas of the pitch make him a real asset to Tuchel, who has acted quickly to shift the England international into a position that seemingly suits him better.

Scoring has been an issue for them, with the likes of Timo Werner and Kai Havertz continuing to struggle, and this has undoubtedly impacted Mount as his expected assists from open play is 3.5 - with more clinical finishing he wouldn't still be sat on zero.

 

Mount's form lately seems to suggest that once Chelsea begin to click in front of goal, he'll be key to much of their build-up.

A homegrown beacon of hope

Throughout Roman Abramovich's time as Chelsea owner, the club has often found itself in a sort of purgatory – while they've undoubtedly wanted success and a first-team full of homegrown talents, it's difficult to say they've truly struck a balance between the two.

After all, since the start of the century, Chelsea products reaching 100 Premier League appearances for the club have been a rarity.

John Terry, of course, leads the way, but beyond him it becomes a bit murky. John Obi Mikel and Nemanja Matic perhaps come closest to fitting the bill, though both did play senior football elsewhere before joining the club as teenagers.

Granted, Mount remains a little way off yet as well having played 67 times in the top-flight for Chelsea, but he's quickly making up ground.

Not too far behind him are Tammy Abraham (56), Callum Hudson-Odoi and Ruben Loftus-Cheek (both on 54), while Andreas Christensen – at Chelsea since 2013 – has featured 70 times.

What's in store for their long-term futures at Chelsea remains to be seen – they are far less certain than Mount.

But Mount especially shows that where there wasn't much hope for young talent coming through at Chelsea in the past, now there is for arguably the first time in the Abramovich era.

Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel said the Champions League is "anyone's competition" to win after his side reached the semi-finals with a 2-1 aggregate victory over Porto.

Porto won the second leg 1-0 on Tuesday but it was not enough to overturn Chelsea's 2-0 first-leg victory.

Chelsea will play either Liverpool or Real Madrid in the final final, while Paris Saint-Germain will meet either Manchester City or Borussia Dortmund.

As Chelsea prepare for their eighth Champions League semi-final – the most of any English club – Tuchel told reporters: "We're in the competition and in the semi-final it is anyone's competition.

"In the semi-final, you need players fit, momentum, luck in the games.

The German added: "It is a very big achievement. You see when Chelsea was last in the semi-final.

"We are not used to being there. Once you are there, you play for the final. This is clear."

Chelsea will be appearing in their first Champions League semi-final since 2013-14 with a younger brigade of players compared to their upcoming opponents.

"When you look on the scoresheet last week, you saw two players [Mason Mount and Ben Chilwell] who scored their first goals in the competition," Tuchel said.

"When you look at Kylian Mbappe, Neymar, [Karim] Benzema or [Mohamed] Salah score, it is their 50th or 100th goal or something. We arrived with a very young team.

"We want a young team to turn it around. What a young team can do it run, fight and hang in there. It is an adventure for them. It is a big step to be here."

Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel revelled in the club's Champions League semi-final berth after surviving a tense last-eight tie with Porto.

Porto claimed a last-gasp 1-0 win on Tuesday thanks to Mehdi Taremi's stunning acrobatic stoppage-time strike, but the Premier League side still advanced to the final four 2-1 on aggregate.

It was a tough battle at Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan – the same venue as last week's opening leg due to coronavirus protocols – with only three shots on target (one for Chelsea) throughout the return fixture.

But Chelsea saw off the Portuguese visitors over two legs to reach the semi-finals for the eighth time, more than any other English side in Champions League history.

"We accepted what was needed was a tough, tough fight," Tuchel told BT Sport as Chelsea prepare for their first semi-final appearance since 2013-14.

"Maybe on the television it was not so nice to watch but on the sidelines it was a very intense game, a very fast game.

"It was a tough fight and very hard to play against them to escape the pressure. They attack in a fluid and aggressive way. They change positions all the time. They come from behind, they overlap and you have to adapt to many movements. With every minute we did it better and better after a tough start.

"We defended well and deserved a clean sheet. We had the better chances - not a lot – but the better half chances. We could not finish it off with a goal so we had to hang in there and the guys did that.

"Overall we deserved to beat Porto. It was a tough 180 minutes."

It could be an all-English semi-final, with Chelsea set to face either Liverpool or Real Madrid in the final four.

LaLiga champions Madrid carry a 3-1 lead over Premier League holders Liverpool heading into Wednesday's second leg at Anfield.

Asked whether he would like to avoid Liverpool in the semi-finals, Tuchel added: "I like it in Champions League not to play in teams from your own league, it gives the feeling more of a European competition.

"The game is far from over and I will watch it for sure. It's a pleasure to watch it as a semi-finalist.

"It's a great achievement and tomorrow we will watch the game. Everything is possible. We will take what we get."

Thomas Tuchel insists he will not hide from the challenge of winning trophies at Chelsea as they prepare for a significant Champions League and FA Cup double bill.

The Blues face Porto on Tuesday in the home leg of their quarter-final tie in a commanding position, having won 2-0 in the first fixture.

On Saturday, they will meet quadruple-chasing Manchester City in an FA Cup semi-final, with the prospect of meeting either Leicester City or Southampton in the final.

Chelsea remain in a battle for a top-four finish in the Premier League but head coach Tuchel has his sights set on delivering silverware, despite only taking over from Frank Lampard in January.

Asked if the Champions League is Chelsea's best chance of a trophy in 2020-21, Tuchel replied: "Maybe when you are in the final.

"We are in the second leg of the quarter-final of the Champions League. You will not find any team who do not have the goal to reach the semi-final.

"We are in the semi-final of the FA Cup and have the chance to arrive in the final. If we arrive in the final then we have the chance to win.

"There is nothing to hide. This is a club that has a culture, a structure to win titles and win games consecutively. Chelsea is the club that has the culture and the history and mentality to do so.

"I am here to win titles, I am here to win games and as a result, win titles. This is what I demand of myself so why should we now say anything different?

"But, honestly, we can talk for hours and hours but tomorrow is the game to play and there is no tougher match than the next game, there is no tougher obstacle than the one in front of you and we should not get lost in dreams, hopes and speeches or whatever.

"We are here to perform in the second leg of the quarter-final, this is what we do and then hopefully after tomorrow we can talk about a semi-final."

Goals from Mason Mount and Ben Chilwell secured Chelsea's first-leg win and they are yet to lose a game in this season's competition.

Porto, meanwhile, have only won once in their past 20 knockout games as the away side, while only four teams have previously progressed in this competition after losing a home first leg of a tie without scoring.

Still, Tuchel believes Porto have an easier challenge as they can only go all out for victory in Seville, where the first leg was also held due to coronavirus restrictions.

"We don't approach games like this [passively] or change the approach," Tuchel said. "For us, it is important that we focus on us, play the best game possible as this increases the chances to have a result.

"In terms of a result, it is easier for Porto because they need to score three goals to get through, for them if it is clear. For us, if we start in this way then we could completely lose our heads. I hope we embrace the challenge and feel it."

Thomas Tuchel praised a "good step" taken by Kai Havertz and called on the Chelsea forward to continue to show his quality after his instrumental role in the 4-1 win at Crystal Palace.

Havertz has largely struggled since his close-season move from Bayer Leverkusen but opened the scoring at Selhurst Park, where Chelsea surged back into the top four.

He laid on the second goal for Christian Pulisic as Chelsea went two up inside 10 minutes, with Kurt Zouma's header and a late effort from Pulisic, sandwiched by a Christian Benteke consolation, giving the Blues a comfortable victory.

Havertz's goal was his first in the Premier League since October while this was his first game in the competition in which he has both found the net and provided an assist.

Chelsea have the second leg of their Champions League quarter-final tie with Porto, which they lead 2-0, on Tuesday before taking on Manchester City in the FA Cup semi-final next Saturday.

With so many significant fixtures on the horizon as they also fight for Champions League qualification next season, Tuchel wants more from Havertz.

The coach told a post-match media conference: "He has quality, he needs to show it. Easy as that.

"He will never be our emotional leader, we don't expect him to be. But we expect him to show his quality.

"Honestly, he needed to show he can do better. So many decisive matches coming, he got another chance to show he can do better than he did against Porto. A good step and a good performance."

Mason Mount was similarly impressive for Chelsea, playing four key passes and providing the assist for Zouma's fifth goal of the season.

The midfielder also completed 93.8 per cent of his passes in the opposition half and sent in a game-high 15 crosses.

Asked about Mount, Tuchel added: "Mason was focused, high energy level, strong performance.

"It's in our DNA that we have a high work rate, high intensity and are tired after a match. This is how it should be, we are Chelsea."

Thomas Tuchel says Chelsea retain "faith and trust" in struggling forwards Timo Werner and Kai Havertz.

Both players were substituted with 25 minutes left in the 2-0 Champions League win over Porto in Seville on Wednesday.

Tuchel said after the quarter-final first leg that the two players had not given him what he was looking for.

But ahead of the short trip to play Crystal Palace in the Premier League on Saturday, he insisted both players remain a key part of his plans and that his substitutions were specific only to that match.

Tuchel accepts Werner is lacking in confidence but does not have any concerns over Havertz.

Werner has been directly involved in more Premier League goals this season than any other Chelsea player (11, with five goals and six assists). 

However, the Germany striker has scored with just one of his last 42 shots in the competition, a strike against Newcastle United in February.

"Look at the games Porto played in the Champions League," said Tuchel in defence of Werner and Havertz.

"If you can show me any nice, fluid and pretty games of any opponent we can talk again. I did not find it. 

"They make your life very tough, especially for offensive players. They went through the group with 13 points. You can ask in the group how easy it was to play against them. 

"They did not have the easiest task up front. They had a big impact defensively and they worked hard for us, both Kai and Timo. 

"It was difficult for them to find spaces and create something, so we changed after 65 minutes but we will not lose faith and trust. 

"We accept sometimes it's hard sometimes to have a big impact. Maybe Timo misses a bit of confidence in his finishing but Kai, I feel, is very self-confident. 

"There are no bigger concerns. It was just in this game we tried to change the momentum."

Chelsea are yet to lose on the road under Tuchel in the Premier League (W3 D2).

The Palace clash comes after a dramatic week for the Blues, with the Porto win following up a shock 5-2 home reverse against West Brom.

Tuchel is keen to ensure his players do not get too up or down based on one result.

He added: "It's my job to learn every day and from every game, from every situation we have to face. 

"I don't have a big conclusion after the two games with the down and up we had in terms of results. 

"It's important to share experiences and make my experiences with the team. It's the first time we lost, a big loss, an unexpected loss in a weird game. 

"We have a lot of positives together so we needed to adapt and react to it. 

"I'm very happy we bounced back immediately. We were unlucky in some situations in the game. It's important for us now that we went through this. 

"Hopefully we can start a winning streak again."

Palace have kept five clean sheets in the Premier League at Selhurst Park since the turn of the year, two more than in the entirety of 2020.

But manager Roy Hodgson has lost six consecutive Premier League matches against Chelsea. 

The only opponent he has lost seven consecutive games against as a manager in the competition is Tottenham in a run that lasted between 2011 and 2019.

Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel acknowledges it is "a rough time" for out-of-favour striker Tammy Abraham.

Abraham's chances of being selected for England at Euro 2020 appear to be slipping away, but Tuchel insists he cannot pick players on that basis.

With Chelsea away to Crystal Palace in the Premier League on Saturday, the prospect of a recall to the starting XI for Abraham seems slim.

The former Aston Villa loanee has not played for Chelsea since February 20 and has been subbed off by half-time the last three times he started in the Premier League.

Ahead of the Palace clash, Tuchel was asked about whether Abraham's recent return from injury and his hopes of representing England at the Euros meant he would play more before the end of the season.

"I cannot do a decision on the personal goals of players," replied Tuchel. "I've got to do what I believe is best for Chelsea. 

"Kepa has the goal to play for Spain but this can't influence my decisions. 

"Tammy has had a rough time. He started twice or three times and substituted for tactical reasons at half-time. 

"He's not had the impact we wish and demand from him. 

"He then got injured, lost the connection and possibility to play for his place the squad. Now suddenly we are in the decisive part of the season, where it's not so easy to bring injured players into the shape. 

"We've only got three changes and a big handicap. It's up to Tammy to do everything possible. 

"We have 22 players on the pitch and it's very hard to select 18 for Premier League matches. 

"In the offensive position, it's possible to have a huge impact in small minutes. We demand a lot of Tammy, he demands a lot of himself."

Chelsea lost 5-2 to West Brom in their last league outing, a first defeat under Tuchel after the German had made a fantastic start to his reign.

They bounced back well with a 2-0 win over Porto in their Champions League quarter-final first leg and now look to continue a strong recent run against Palace.

Palace have lost their past six Premier League matches against Chelsea, their worst ever losing run against the Blues in league football.

Tuchel added: "Crystal Palace are a physical team with two key players up front that we need to take care of. 

"It's a pleasure to be on the sideline with Roy Hodgson on the other side. It means a lot to be there. 

"We'll do everything we can to beat them but we expect a tough away game.

"I met him once years ago. He is a gentleman and open to sharing his experience in coaching. His teams are calm, experienced and very, very solid." 

Chelsea have won 1.82 points per game in Premier League London derbies, the best ratio amongst sides from the capital. 

By contrast, only Fulham (0.81) have averaged fewer points per game in such matches than Palace (0.93).

None of the past 19 Premier League meetings between Palace and Chelsea have ended as a draw. 

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